Vice Admiral Peter Hudson has taken over command of the NATO Maritime Headquarters during a ceremony in Northwood, London.
Vice Admiral Hudson takes over from Admiral Sir George Zambellas, who has commanded the Maritime HQ through a period of significant expansion.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:
Vice Admiral Hudson is taking command of the NATO Maritime HQ at an important time, with responsibility for the continuing NATO counter-piracy mission in the Indian Ocean and counter-terrorism mission in the Mediterranean.
I have no doubt that he will build on Admiral Zambellas’ legacy of success.
He takes over at a time of reorganisation within NATO which sees Northwood as the alliance’s sole maritime command. Previously, NATO Maritime Command headquarters was split between Northwood and Naples.
Vice Admiral Hudson also takes responsibility for NATO Maritime Command’s 2 existing live operations: Operation Ocean Shield - the counter-piracy mission in the Indian Ocean, and Operation Active Endeavour - the maritime counter-terrorism mission in the Mediterranean.
Admiral Hudson said he was taking over the command at an exciting time when:
the ability of maritime forces to achieve influence without embroilment has seldom been at so high a premium.
In the future we will continue to be able to afford our political leaders viable options and our military commanders a variety of choices.
At the ceremony, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Admiral Jim Stavridis, said:
I want to thank Admiral George Zambellas for his remarkable performance as the Commander of NATO Maritime Command (MC).
Admiral Zambellas was the key to completing complex maritime operations and preparing MC Northwood to handle the alliance’s future maritime strategy, capabilities and operations.
Admiral Zambellas has been selected to be the new First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff for the British Royal Navy, taking over from Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope in April 2013.